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German railway operator resumes talks with train drivers' union in a long dispute

BERLIN (AP) — A union representing many German train drivers and the main national railway operator have resumed negotiations in a bitter dispute over working hours and pay and are optimistic that they will achieve a result next week, the state-owned company said Saturday.

The GDL union has called drivers for Deutsche Bahn out on strike repeatedly in the dispute that has dragged on for months. A walkout on Tuesday coincided with a strike by cabin crew at Lufthansa in a separate dispute, adding to disruption for travelers.

The main sticking point in the dispute is GDL’s demand for working hours to be reduced from 38 to 35 hours per week without a pay cut. Some smaller private operators that operate regional services have agreed to the demand.

In a previous attempt to bring the two sides together, moderators suggested a reduction from 38 to 36 hours by 2028, but details of their proposal didn’t satisfy GDL.

On Saturday, Deutsche Bahn said it has now resumed talks with the union, which it described as “intensive but constructive.”

“An understanding was reached on many issues,” it added in a brief statement, without elaborating. “Both parties are confident of being able to communicate an agreement in the next week. GDL will refrain from further strikes until then.”